The Public Salons originated from dinner gatherings hosted by Sam Sullivan and Lynn Zanatta for over a decade. These dinners were attended by up to 10 people from very different walks of life who each spent 5 to 10 minutes speaking about something they were passionate about.
One of the few regulars at these dinners was friend and mentor Prof. Abraham Rogatnick who was the first to recognize that these dinner gatherings were actually salons. Salons came from 18th-century France and featured a cross-section of French society that would gather to discuss ideas. The impact on society was literally revolutionary!
Prof. Rogatnick often encouraged Sam to bring the benefits and pleasures of the salon to a broader public. It wasn’t until after Abraham passed away that Sam and Lynn committed to fulfilling the wish of their friend. And so was born the idea of the Public Salon.
Originally they were lunchtime events. Eventually they moved to evenings at the Vancouver Playhouse Theatre where they averaged audiences of 500. Shaw Television Channel 4 offered to broadcast a 1/2 hour Public Salon Television Show four times a week and this greatly increased the public awareness of the ideas of the speakers.
The Public Salons would not be possible without the many volunteers and the sponsors who are committed to making them a success.